Monday, July 30, 2012

Old diseases that won't die off

In an effort to discuss news stories in a timely manner, I am finding I may need to add a blog post which is off my topic.  For example, yesterday I discussed that Olympic athletes are ice bathing.  I hope this doesn’t cause any confusion among my readers. 

On Thursday and Saturday I talked about bubonic plague (a very old disease).   We hear about old diseases which continue to make us ill.  Despite our modern technology and all our medical knowledge, these diseases cause problems.  The next few blog posts I will discuss a few old diseases that continue to cause us illness.  Next time I will talk about whooping cough.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

In the News--Olympic athletes use ice bath

I am interrupting my usual blogging schedule to discuss an “in the news” phenomenon.  Some of the Olympic athletes are ice bathing (cryotherapy).  Some of them are sharing pictures on Twitter showing them immersed in icy water.  What’s this all about? 
According to Runner’s, “ice baths are one of the most effective ways to offset the damage done on a run.”  The theory behind ice immersion is that cold “constricts blood vessels and decreases metabolic activity, which reduces swelling and tissue breakdown.  Once the skin is no longer in contact with the cold source, the underlying tissues warm up, causing a return of faster blood flow, which helps return the byproducts of cellular breakdown to the lymph system for efficient recycling by the body.”,7120,s6-241-285--12810-0,00.html
Cold therapy has been a part of physical therapy practices for many years.  Adding an ice pack to an injury is basic first aid.  However, one source I read, Medicine Net warned that immersing oneself in icy water can shock the body, causing stress to the heart, blood vessels and respiratory system and is “not for everyone.” MedicineNet,  I personally think immersing my body into icy water sounds unpleasant. But that’s what some elite athletes are doing to help heal their sore, possibly damaged muscles.  More about this news story can be found at

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Treatment for the ancient bubonic plague

Bubonic plague is an ancient disease spread by fleas infected with the Yersinia pestis bacteria.  Modern treatment for bubonic plague involves supportive treatment and antibiotics (treatment not developed until 1928 when Sir Alexander Fleming recognized that germs could not grow around the mold Penicillium.  From this observation and scientific work, our first antibiotic Penicillin was developed). 
The Oregon welder (in our news story) faces the possibility of losing fingers and toes and needing much rehabilitation to regain his health.  My heart goes out to this man and his family as they deal with this health crisis.  After reading this story, I’m thinking fleas (and rodents that carry them) are a situation to be avoided.  More information about this story can be found at  For more suggestions about how to protect ourselves from this very old disease, check out the CDC website,

Thursday, July 26, 2012

In the News: Oregon man recovering from bubonic plague

A recent (July 18, 2012) news story tells of an Oregon welder who became very ill and almost died of bubonic plague.  He’s still recovering from this ancient bacterial disease spread by fleas.  The exposure to bubonic plague happened when the man was bit on the hand by his cat. The cat was trying to eat a rodent (a flea infested rodent) and began choking.  When the man tried to help the cat, the cat bit him and the bacteria entered his body through the bite.   More information about this story can be found at
History tells us that in 1347 AD, approximately 25 million Europeans died from bubonic plague.   This infectious bacterial disease was called “Black Death” because the person’s skin blackened.  During this Middle Ages epidemic, the plague was spread by fleas found on rats.  More information next time on t treatment for bubonic plague and how our Oregon man’s recovery is going. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Family time

Family Time
What’s a 125 foot slip and slide got to do with “family time”?  We recently had a fun-filled family reunion at our home.  The 125 ft slip and slide was my husband’s brain child.  What a huge success it was.  The kids loved it and spent three days ‘slip and sliding’.  Several of the adults cast their adult cares aside and joined in the fun.  There was cheers and laughter among those of us who were watching. 
Family time for our families (both sides) is very important to us; we love our times together.  Everyone pitches in with providing meals.  Everyone brings or makes a food dish.  One brother brought 350 crappie fish filets and fried them for Friday night’s fish fry.  (What fish we didn’t eat made great snacks the next day.)  Another brother makes wonderful desserts which we all enjoy.  It’s hard to decide which is best…pineapple upside down cake or chocolate chip pecan pie.  Two nephews were great ‘grillers’.  They didn’t burn a single bratwurst. 
Our family members travelled from San Francisco, New Mexico, Texas and New Jersey to spend time together.  We appreciate their making the journey so we could spend time together.  There was lots of laughs, lots of good food, lots of fun and…you guessed it…lots of slip-n-slide. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Do you aspire to live to be 100 years old?

Do you want to live to be 100 years old?  Interesting research reported recently gives suggestions on what a person can do to lengthen his life:  social connections (communicating with family and friends daily), exercise on a regular basis, spiritual activities (prayer, meditation and spiritual activities). 
When considering how long a person lives, we will be affected by our inherited genes.  Some things we cannot change.  However, current health authorities believe that lifestyle behaviors do affect our health and longevity.  Among these lifestyle behaviors are:  social connections, exercise, sleep habits, diet, spiritual health and activities. 
The researchers found that many baby boomers are doing well in many activities.  Two areas that baby boomers were not matching up with centenarians:  enough sleep and a healthy diet.  Many baby boomers do not get eight to nine hours of sleep at night and don’t eat a healthy diet as often as the centenarians.  More information about this research can be found at,

Friday, July 20, 2012

Our anniversary

I got lucky when I married my husband 33 years ago.  This hardworking man has a kind, honest heart.  He treats people, including me, well.  It has been my pleasure being his wife for these years with more years ahead.   
When I give advice to young gals about marrying the man of their dreams, this is what I say:  marry the man who you like and respect; who is your best friend.  

A recent study found that “giving your heart to a supportive spouse turns out to be an excellent way to stay alive…happily wedded people who undergo coronary bypass surgery are more than three times as likely to be alive 15 years later as their unmarried counterparts.”  This report can be found at Science Daily, Is Marriage Good for the Heart?  or at University of Rochester (2011, August 22). Is marriage good for the heart?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 30, 2012, from­ /releases/2011/08/110822091848.htm

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Summer time and UV protection part 3

The CDC gives #5 and 6 of their summertime UV protection strategies. 
5.  Sunscreen—do you know which to buy? Going to buy sunscreen can be a perplexing task.  What does SPF mean?  Can’t I use the old sunscreen at home?  According to the CDC, most sunscreen products contain chemicals which absorb, reflect or scatter UV rays.  Different products have different ingredients.  SPF (Sun protection factor) rating tells how effective the product is at blocking UV rays.  A sunscreen of SPF 50 gives more protection than a sunscreen of SPF 15.  Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours and after you swim or sweat.  Expiration dates tell us whether the product is still effective.  If a sunscreen doesn’t show an expiration date, its effectiveness is three years.  However, high temperatures (inside a car during a hot summer day) shorten the effectiveness of sunscreen. 
6.  What about tanning beds?   According to the CDC, “indoor tanning has been linked with skin cancers including melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and cancers of the eye.”  CDC. Skin Cancer Prevention, More information at

Monday, July 16, 2012

Summertime and UV protection part 2

The CDC gives 6 summertime UV protection strategies.  Today we look at #3 and 4. 
3.  Wearing a hat can shield us from UV dangers.  Tightly woven (canvas) Hats with a brim all around give the best protection.  Holey straw hats and base-ball style caps aren’t as good at protection.  Sunscreen can be added to protect the ears and back of neck areas that caps leave exposed. 
4.  Sunglasses are more than cool fashion accessories.  Sunglasses do more than keeping us from squinting to block out too bright sun.  Sunglasses decrease the risk of cataracts and protect our skin from UV rays.  The best sunglasses protect against both UVA (Ultraviolet A rays) and UVB (Ultraviolet B rays).  For the best protection, buy wrap-around sunglasses.  More information can be found at

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Summer time and UV protection

July is UV protection month.  As people flock to pools, rivers and beaches in search of summertime fun, we need to remember our UV protection. 
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 6 Summertime UV protection strategies are important: 
1.  Use the shade wisely during the hot, midday hours.   When talking about UV protection, we are protecting ourselves from skin cancer dangers.  Using the shade of an umbrella, tree or shelter, we can decrease the danger.  However, the experts recommend we also use sunscreen and protective clothing to protect ourselves.
2.  Wear appropriate clothes to protect ourselves from UV rays.  How can I get a tan wearing clothes?  You don’t but you decrease your chances of skin cancer.  According to the CDC report, a typical dry t-shirt gives us SPF of less than 15.  A wet t-shirt gives even less sun protection.  That means we are getting sun when we don’t realize it.   Sun protective clothing can be purchased.  (REI calls it UPF –ultraviolet protection factor and the higher the number the more protection.)   The best sun protective type fabric is tightly woven fabric made into loosely-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and pants.   More information can be found at

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer heat related illness--heat stroke

Heat Stroke occurs when the person goes past heat exhaustion and his body loses the ability to cool itself and overheats.  Heat stroke is very dangerous.  The person no long can sweat to cool and his body temperature rises to dangerous levels (up to 106) quickly (within 10-15 minutes). 

Symptoms of heat stroke:  may be profuse sweating which probably decreases and the person’s body becomes hot and dry, the person may hallucinate, become confused and/or dizzy,  may slur his speech.  The person may have a major throbbing headache and he may deal with chills while his body temperature climbs.
Heat stroke is the most serious heat illness and requires quick treatment:  call 911 for help.  While emergency help is coming, move the person to a cool shaded area and cool the person my applying cool water to him and his clothes.  More information about heat illnesses can be found at

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Summer time--heat exhaustion

Summer heat can make us ill.  What’s the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke?           
Heat exhaustion occurs when a person loses too much body fluids (both water and salt) through sweating.  Heat exhaustion can affect anyone out in the heat and humidity.  Some health factors increase a person’s risk of heat exhaustion:  being elderly, working in a hot environment and having high blood pressure.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion:  sweating heavily, feeling weak and exhausted, becoming confused and dizzy, feeling nauseated, having clammy, moist skin, a pale or flushed appearance, muscle cramps, fast and shallow breathing.  As the person becomes heat exhausted, his body temperature may rise. 
Treatment for heat exhaustion includes having the person “rest in a cool, shaded or air-conditioned area…drink plenty of water or other cool, nonalcoholic beverages…and take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath.”, Heat Stress,

More next time about the dangerous heat stroke.